Snowflakes – Background

When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.” W.A. Bentley, 1925

Snow is magical, renewing our sense of wonder, transforming a barren landscape into a winter wonderland, and drawing us outdoors. When we look closely at falling snow, we marvel at the beauty of snowflakes. Each snow crystal is a unique, ephemeral work of art – yet its symmetrical, harmoniously balanced design is not random but created through a combination of physics, math, and chemistry. Continue reading Snowflakes – Background

Snowflakes – Activities

FOCUS: A snowflake’s life is one of constant change, from its trip through the sky to its resting place in the snow bank. Each one is a unique, six-sided crystal with temperature and humidity as key factors determining their shape, size, and design.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about snowflakes.

If it’s snowing, provide children with black felt squares and magnifying lenses to catch and observe snowflakes. If not, put out several snowflake photographs, and ask children what they notice about them. After they mention some similarities and differences, ask them to sort them.

Materials: squares of black felt or dark fabric, chilled in freezer or outdoors; magnifying lenses; optional: Snowflake Photo Set: photos of various snow crystal categories

Objective: To observe snow crystal photos and sort into categories based on their design features.

Using the Types of Snow Crystals diagram, review the various design features and growth patterns of different snow crystals. Point out that as each type of snowflake grew, decorative patterns were repeated on all six sides, creating symmetrical designs. Continue reading Snowflakes – Activities

Snowflakes – Puppet Show

No Two Alike?


Characters: Dust, Tiny Plate, Big Plate, Needle, Column, Capped Column, Stellar Dendrite.

Dust  Here I am, a tiny speck of dust floating in a cloud of snow crystals. Yoo hoo. Hello there.

Needle What’s this? A speck of talking dust.

Why, I was once a bit of dust, too.

Dust  Really? You look like ice, not dust. Continue reading Snowflakes – Puppet Show

Snowflakes – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Snowflakes – Standards